Preparing for ‘Ruff’ Weather

It must be miserable for dogs to have to do their potty business outside no matter cold or rain or whatever the weather.  Here where we live, it’s the cusp of when we normally start having all of winter’s most nasty weather, and our little fur baby does not at all like stepping outside in any such clime (not that I blame him!).  Being a dachshund – both long and short – most RTW coats do not fit him correctly and he waddles around in them unable to move naturally.  I’ve made coats for myself, I’ve made a coat for our son (posted previously, see here), and I have everything ready to sew a coat for the husband, but I realized there is one family member that really needed winter wear – our dog!

I had some scraps (literally just a few pieces) of quilted fabric leftover from the previous winter’s sewing.  The scraps were too small to warrant stashing away and an annoyance by keeping out.  Bingo! Our little companion can now go outside in relative comfort and style in a coat I made for just his body type!  Soon, everyone in my family circle will have a custom coat handmade by me.

His breed of dog has a German heritage, and so I put a bit of a Bavarian spin on the coat.  At first, that wasn’t intended – I was merely adapting the pattern to accommodate fitting his body, my shortage of available pieces to use, and easy finishing techniques.  However, I love everything about how it turned out!  In just over an hour, I had a made my pup a new coat.  Since the rest of the quilted fabric was used to make things for me, I personally know that stuff is super warm and cozy so I do hope he is as happy to wear the new coat as pleased as I am to see him in it.

I chose the extra small for the body of the coat and a small for the longer length plus under belly straps.  As it turned out, I only had to use one of the two under belly straps because he is such a little guy!  Also due to his smaller chest, a tissue fitting (tough to do on a wiggly animal!) seemed to show that the neck and tummy straps were at the wrong placement for him so they were the last things I attached at new spots for a custom fit.  He has a box of RTW coats which have been gifted to him and this is the only one that fully covers his back yet has him moving around and doing his outside business like he isn’t even wearing anything.  It’s about time…why hadn’t I thought of this before?!

The bias tape finishing the raw edges used up a color I never need otherwise and was the perfect solution to making this a quickly finished project.  My fur baby certainly doesn’t mind and I like the different combo of colors.  The tape highlights the extra collar that hangs over a half-hidden small pocket.  I will never know why dog coats have pockets – it is one of the world’s great conundrums.  Usually pockets are for the wearer of the garment to use, but I will be the one using it to carry things for his needs (if anything) so…is the pocket really for him?  If anything, it adds some extra interest and was a good way to use up the second chest strap I no longer needed otherwise.

I had a rectangle only big enough to cut out the main body without attached neck/chest strap, but as I mentioned before, they didn’t seem like they were going to fit as they were anyway.  The way to get the neck to fit was to have a separate chest piece…that was all I could manage out of my scraps anyway!  Those buttons are purely decorative because out of convenience the neck/chest piece is sewn down.  It’s one less thing to deal with to get him dressed because when he has to go, he sometimes can’t wait!  The sole side closure of the belly strap closes with Velcro loop tape.

This time every year I have so much more incentive to sew for others, anyway, but this is the first of my sewing going for a pet!  I don’t really expect to do much more sewing in that department, yet it is exciting to find a new use for my scraps.  I mean, dachshunds do show up on so many of the few pet patterns which do get released.  He probably hopes I don’t get carried away with my new discovery because he doesn’t necessarily like to model or be the subject of the camera.  He is so accommodating, though.   Don’t worry little buddy, the coat you were born with is plenty handsome…

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  two-sided, 100% cotton covered quilted batting

PATTERN:   Butterick #4885, year 2006, View C

NOTIONS:  I only used what was in my stash – matching thread, bright orange bias tape, and some 1980s buttons out of the inherited stash of my husband’s Grandmother

TIME TO COMPLETE:  From start to finish, this coat only took me an hour and a half!

TOTAL COST:  Basically nothing – a few dollars or less!  This was made of the scraps leftover from 2 ½ yards of quilted fabric which has already went towards two different outfits.  A third re-iteration of the same fabric is practically free in my opinion!

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